tv Panel Discussion on Long- Form Journalism CSPAN July 5, 2014 8:45am-9:54am EDT
you could have said if you want to know the answers, read the book. thank you for attending this fo fo fo forum. >> thanks everyone for coming. their book "fixing illinois: politics and policy in the prairie state" on sale now in the main lobby and they will be signing copies outside of the auditorium. thanks, everyone. enjoy lit fest. [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible conversations] spinks he spent to provide live
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>> you're watching booktv. text is the helen bernstein book award for excellence in journalism. this two-part event begins with a panel discussion on long-form journalism to this hour-long event was held at the new york public library in new york city. >> a good evening, everyone. we will not be poured on by the rain just yet. anyway, i'm so pleased to welcome you here tonight at the new york public library. we have a wonderful group with us today for a focus on uncovering the truth -- "uncovering the truth: long-form journalism in the age of twitter." a celebration of the 2014 finalist for the helen bernstein book award for excellence in journalism. i'm particularly thrilled to see mrs. bernstein here tonight. thank you for joining us come with her daughter, kathy. [applause]
>> their generosity has made this award possible. it was established in 1987 through a gift to the new york public library from the bernstein family in honor of helen and her lifelong love of journalism. helen, we thank you. [applause] >> the award is given annually to journalists whose books have brought clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies. and the five award journalists gather to tonight exemplify this. their books were chosen by librarians from over 100 nominations. and the topics range from hurricane katrina to haiti and corporate pollution, to military strategy and returning soldiers
struggling with ptsd. the library is so proud to be home to this award and have the opportunity to honor and support excellent journalism. thank you to you. the digital age may change how we receive news, but the need for dedicated, passionate and strong reporters committed to deep investigative reporting remains a constant. the importance of uncovering the truth, or as some of my journalist friends say, witness the truth, to bring the public the news they need to be active members of an informed citizenry has not changed. it is perhaps or important today than ever to shine the spotlight on these efforts. now it's my pleasure to introduce a moderate for this evening, james hoge. [applause]
>> for those of you who don't know james hoge, he is a senior advisor, editor of foreign affairs, very long list of accolades including being the washington correspondent, editor and publisher of the chicago sun times, publisher of the "new york daily news." he's been a fellow at harvard john f. kennedy school of government, the freedom for media center at columbia university, he is a former chairman of the international center for journalists and the former chairman of human rights watch for 2010-2014. it is my extreme pleasure to invite him here tonight. thank you. [applause]
>> good evening. so happy to see you. i have been with the bernstein awards now for a number of years, and every year i am struck by the quality of the books that we are given, the seven of us, and it's very hard to make a decision because the books are also good. some of them are quite different from each other, but the level of quality is there. and i mentioned that because there's a lot of worry at least in the media world of what's going to happen now that newspapers are not what they once were, don't have the resources they once had, cannot afford to do some of the things they once did. what's going to happen to long-form journalism? that's a fancy word, for investigative or explanatory or insightful journalism that has the space to really go into a substance come old time there
was some depth. it's always been assumed, made we should assume so much but that is an important media for democratic society like ours, that you are not going to get some official sources, however well-meaning they may be, or from public to chili's. you will not get the full advantage of what's going on in the world. you certainly won't get the rough edges. let's just take one example right now that we're having to deal with in this society. soldiers are coming home from afghanistan and iraq. many of them have to go to veterans hospitals because the wounds that they have gotten in those conflicts. and the disgrace of our veterans hospital is becoming public, would not have become public if not generate the interest and hope the remedies that are to come without a very vigorous press that has the ability to
get to larger public. now, the bernstein awards are, if i may say, a form of long-form journalism. they do go as you were to turn us and get the journalists, the books that we select, all deal with the subject of some serious public consequence to this republic, to this society. that's kind of the baseline. from there you can go in any direction. i think we're very honored tonight to have a five finalists who will learn tomorrow which one is this years bernstein award winner, but all of them deserve it, believing. and this is the first year where we decided to have a session in advance of the awards ceremony tomorrow to let these authors who have put so much into their products and audiences which are interested, have a fuller
discussion. we had a title tonight on long-form journalism, we will honor that but when they go in some of the directions. i hope we can touch some that are of interest to you. so he was here? dan fagin is associate professor of journalism and the director of science, health and of our mental reporting program at new york university. his book and was a finalist this year is "toms river: a story of science and salvation." it was recently awarded the 2014 pulitzer prize or general nonfiction. before joining the nyu faculty in 2005, he left environmental writer for newsday. david finkel is an editor and writer for the "washington post," for whom he has covered wars and kosovo, afghanistan and iraq. and many of the foreign subjects as well. he's the author of the good
soldiers, the critical the claimed account of you searched during the iraq war. it won the helen bernstein award in 2010. his latest book, thank you for your service, was named as a finalist for the 2013 national book critics circle award. and he is a finalist here again for the bernstein award. fred kaplan who is on his way, got some traffic delays this evening, but we expect him here shortly. those of you most of us are new yorkers, you know what traffic delays only. sometimes they are short, sometimes they are not. we've got our fingers crossed. fred is a columnist for slate, the author of two books and the four military reporter and moscow bureau chief for "the boston globe." he was the lead member of the club's team that won a pulitzer
prize for a series on the nuclear arms race. his book, "the insurgents," was a pulitzer prize finalist in the category of general nonfiction. he is this year's edward r. murrow press fellow at the council on foreign relations. jonathan katz is a freelance journalist and a former correspondent and editor for "the associated press." he was the only full-time u.s. news correspondents living in haiti when 7.0 earthquake struck. he won the 2010 my dell medal for courage in journalism, and his book on haiti's ordeal entitled "the big truck that went by" bracelet one the 2013 overseas press club award. i'm going to let him explain to you what that title means. sheri fink is a correspondent at
"the new york times." or news reporting has been awarded the pulitzer prize, the national magazine award and the overseas press club lowell thomas award, among other journalistic prizes. a former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, she received her m.d. and a ph.d from stanford university. her first book, war hospital am a true story of surgery and survival, is about medical professions, professionals, under siege during the genocide in bosnia-herzegovina. so let us now proceed and if you all will join me up here, our finalists. [applause]
>> sherry, you are over here. jonathan, next. and that handsome guy at the end, that's fred kaplan. okay. long-form journalism, which as i say has been very important part of what journalists like to think of as their contribution to a better society. there are a lot of people who say it's much, much tougher today to get long-form journalism done and then present it. first of all come is a very expensive form of journalism. i was at a newspaper the did a great deal of the. some of it we will here tonight,
in fact i was on the pulitzer board for ten years and then on this board. and the number of books that qualified for a long form journalism about serious subjects which implied something about the educational system and also tells you that the books are not a last resort. it is the first resort. because of what is happening, and part of this -- any thoughts, one at a time, so first of all you are doing whatever it is, but your sense
of the scope is important now or something has taken its place. >> it is as important now and i think there was the misperception early on that would not read long on the west and that has been debunked and also we have seen the new york times is a great example, the region--the recent projects, an incredible platform the web can be for multimedia rich story telling and i was a little cynical about that having trained at different times in my career as a radio reporter separately, when you see some of these platforms and start ups coming up with cool wasted tell stories that almost seamlessly goal between different media, i am starting to be converted and sees that as a way of changing
these important stories and there are ways long form journalism activates in a different way than your historic news stories so we are hungry for it as an audience. i don't see that going away but the big question is how it is funded and paid for and one of the things is as a society, as the financial model for journalism is going away, changing so dramatically, seeing journalism as a public good which the public may invest in maybe the way we go forward and we see foundations and other donors looking at journalism as something -- has the public good, something they need to promote and step in, so many journalism jobs have gone away. >> funding problem is a real one and we can have that in a minute but i want to stick with what we
have transferred from what we have today and on this point, a lot of investigative reporters, reporting one of the things that is an effect, what i call the amplification that you can get from other media picking it up and your own media source picking with a story. it is an example how important that can be that you press all over that story after you brought it up. >> in a way i think that is true. i definitely agree with the point you may generically which is a wonderful thing, that is an network in every sense in which you contribute to the network and drop the network and the initially those who came from
newspapers, some of us sort of reacted suspiciously to the sharing aspect of the web. the idea of aggregation and polling content but eventually you come to realize that that is the power, where the impact comes from. comes from people reacting to it and disseminating or commenting on it. hy wouldn't want to overstate my impact because the events that i wrote about most of them occurred many years ago and i have been a thrills about people applying lessons to their own situations in the united states especially in places like china. >> to encapsulate what the book
is about. >> the book is about -- abettor -- >> 140 characters. the book is about a town in new jersey that a town like any other town accepted experienced kind of a rapid industrialization, large chemical plant came to town, and unusual amount of disease appeared and the book is a mystery trying to sort of understand what really happened and why it happened. and really makes it clear how fascinating this process is, trying to figure out how to understand the relationship
between pollution and cancer and other chronic diseases too. that is what i was shooting for with the book and i do think it is an example of what long form can do. long form, the idea about writing short, riding along, is there a future for a long form? there will always be a future first of that is interesting. there are tweets that are much more boring than 150,000 words. there are a plenty of books, maybe mine too, much shorter than i wrote it so really it is just about doing good reporting and being interesting and one of the things we call learn from
the new web, the new economy, market place, information on the web. lots of different ways to see stories but the successful ones have one thing in common, they are interesting. >> i you finding that when you write for the web you really have to do it in a different way? >> i am the wrong person to ask about that because i am an academic. i teach, and when i write i do right sometimes -- maybe others would be better to comment on that but you do write differently, web. you want to take advantage of the schools in the activity and the sharing aspects of the web that go with the me and one
thing you learned, the way not to raise on the web is to take what you wrote -- that is the wrong way. >> i tend to write with my phone. the advantage for me was first of all my hairline not withstanding, i am at least close to the generation that knows the digital names. i remember there not being an internet. my entire professional life--not the form that it is currently and although you can say that every six months. the advantage i had in learning to think simultaneously i worked
for news services. that is extremely, let's call it platform agnostic. you have no idea where it is going to appear, if it is in the newspaper or on a website or plastered on the side of a building, if somebody is going to rip and read it, you kind of have to learn to write in a way that is going to work in different formats. one thing that is absolutely true in terms of the difference between things you do online and things you can only do, you can work in on these, snowfall, the other day i read an amazing piece on reparations in the atlantic. one of the amazing things about that peace is in the middle, reading it on line, breaking off
in the middle of a paragraph there would be a short 5 or 10 minute documentary about one of the characters, and those of the things that if we can figure out how to do them well there would be a terrific future for journalism in general, the only catch we keep talking about is paying for it. i didn't pay for that piece that i read about on line. >> let's get to that. that is the core of the from. there are different ways beginning to develop, a big fat healthy newspaper with a bank accounts. some of the centers we have talks about that. how much does that change the
game, the broadcasting station, you get started, you go to a news center or postal center or american progress, get the wherewithal to go and do the job in the first place? >> i had a few experiences for that. this book started a project when i was a free lancer and the kaiser family foundation had a grant for writers working on health policy issues. i was hired by at new kind of model for foundation based journalism. traditional news value, but some up in a different way. and a few other examples preceded it. so this was --
>> how does this -- in a newspaper or magazine? >> it was funded, had an initial foundation for $10 million a year for five years or something like that and slowly replaced by funding. we were just reporters but their output, they didn't have that platform of a widely read product, no one had heard of it and it was the republic, republican, who are you? that is good when you are an investigative reporter and want to lay low i guess. the way they did originally get their workout was in partnership with other media. this piece was published between the new york magazine and after i went to do this book there were some opportunities, we
received a fellowship for journalists writing books on policy issues from the new america foundation. these things were patched together. six years from start to finish. my editor -- sources of funding. >> the experience with new ways of funding that he end up doing? >> no -- i want to peel back for a second to a previous point. it is a funding problem but to me there's another problem which
is the experience of reading, when i am not writing books, and we have five books here tonight, and there is page after page of this and if you read these books they don't -- they kind of disappeared into the story being told. when i'm not writing books i am an editor at the washington post and the post believe strongly in long form and that is what i do. i added five writers whose job is to write long for the front page of the newspaper. pretty great job to get to these writers. two pieces of advice on every story. invoke the old hemingway thing, the job here is not to judge but to understand and the other thing i say is to newspaper ran
treat everything as an opportunity for a reader to stop reading you. other books you get the benefit of the doubt but newspaper, every sentence not only has to be reported and well written but the act of persuasion to get to the next sentence. that has worked for years but lately i find myself having conversations with our very talented designers at the paper who want to do things like at videos, and recordings, and sound and i love what they do and yet to me it is just a bunch of things that often in competition with each other like saying to the reader here is an excuse, you're getting ripped up now, and interrupt what the writer has done to give you an opportunity to spend five minutes looking at an interview with the guy you are reading about. you can tell i get a middle --
>> the revelation for me, you were reading a long and it was so seamless. i totally agree with you. >> that is where early days of integration and figuring out how to do it well, it should not be about interrupting. it should be about augmenting and that is easy to say that people are getting better at it. if you look at some of the time this, some things that matter, and other types of storytelling. call it is getting better and it is less now about showing up the same tools and more about what could we do to actually advance stories? >> is there a difference in generations on this issue?
>> i agree with david. i love good writing that you don't want to go away from. >> you would like somebody as you are reading your book, pulitzer prize all the way through to hear the person save the quote you are reading right now. turn the page and the book has been written -- it comes to life with a video. >> my publisher would not have invested the money. these are new. and the few of them. what is this? i know i was in position. fall apart after a couple of years. you lose the experience of
memorizing it. >> standing around a campfire. telling the story. talking to about that. >> the office where i work i have a new sense of what multitasking means when i look at younger generations which turns on the video, types at the same time and all day long like this. >> i don't know it is good for our brains. >> i think it would be good to have points in our life that i just not about branching and i get for them -- i always like that. we haven't talked about that yet. people start doing that,
augmenting, a really powerful narrative, it will be the words that sustain the story, that is not a bad thing. >> that is a close sector. >> i was shocked at the -- >> there are more e-books published now then print books. >> it is changing very fast. the economics operations, it is true that is growing very fast. >> i would rather have a library full of e-books. >> paper is high technology and all those devices -- >> this is the thing. it is hard to imagine in our lifetimes, there seems to be radio, technology has come along in the old technology stays
there. >> state change dramatically. >> somebody to click in the middle of my book to go to something else. if i am sitting down and have a contract and i am writing this thing, new technology that is able to integrate these things i may very well do that and if i plan it and execute it, yes, click away. >> of journalism is getting toward truth and my reader can touch of bit of text and listen to the person who told me they injected someone intended to kill them like a doctor, just sitting in front of that person, hearing that for myself, i think it would be neat if other people could hear that and there would be summoned to mention you get from that that you couldn't get even from the best writing.
>> maybe this is what you were getting at. the best writing is immersive, i can't stop reading it, i don't even know why i am reading it but i have to keep reading. that is not the same thing as the sensory experience that you get from hearing somebody's voice or watching a video that holds your attention but not necessarily in a deep way that is with you. the best documentaries' have that. >> has anyone studied these multimedia journalism projects? >> i have studied it. my own personal experience. often when i get to the video i
stopped reading it. you guys are great at what you do and you are shaking something. you are not just putting words out but sinking your way through and conveying and trying to transport a rear. by the time dialogued occurs in any of these books there have been nonfiction reporting but ryder's decisions so it invokes something. to just suddenly be taken out of that by having a person speak to it this is why my time at the washington post -- >> i agree with you to a great extent but couldn't you imagine that medias that combines things that have the same art to it? >> remember that song?
>> actually that is a great example because -- do you think -- multimedia experience, provocative, you watch that movie, so to me it is just about good storytelling or bad storytelling and i don't care how many media -- >> questions about impact. most people in the line of work you folks are talking about really wants to have impact. the whole deck of doing these stories is to get some change. you work for the new york times. at least my experience has been having a big incident behind you at work with a name like new york times to get people who listen to you or other people. is that the case in the first place and is this a hurdle that will be higher for those folks
in investigative reporting and don't have an iconic -- >> there are sides of that so i do a piece that wasn't partner in some times it would take off and have a huge impact and there are many fantastic partnerships that of done that but maybe you couldn't count on it as consistently as you might if you were writing for the times and consistently have that huge audience but i don't know if it is an inside -- if your peace is tucked inside the paper and don't get good homepage play may be dissimilar but i do think the times has a future impact, potential for impact in reaching people. the times, the post, people still have that view. >> the impact could be from different angles. i have been told in studies i have seen of backing up something that is in print that deals with the controversial
subject has more power and lasting power than any thing that comes to you over is the air so to speak. is that the case in your experience? >> i would not necessarily say that. i was going to say there's a precedent to it but not really. everything you do on the web lasts forever. i don't necessarily think so. the thing about the power of the web is the sharing aspect and you can't -- you don't get that necessarily with print. too worthy to generalize. we have this idea of things that go viral land we write a story and what of people pick up. i don't know. how does that compare to the old
days when you do a ceres and maybe there were hearings at the state house, in d.c. or you cover the hearing. >> people used to cover the state house. >> now they don't know what the state house is. i don't think that has changed that much. is possible to get that kind of a pickup digitally that you can get on paper. >> it was not that long ago but the poster are walter reed 2006-2007, that was a game changer. brilliant reporting, brilliant stories, changed things, total accountability, well written as well. if that had been on tv, i don't know the answer but i am trying to bring it to a specific example of something that has had huge impact. i am wondering if it were
presented digitally i think it would. tv i am not so sure. >> you brought this up, partnerships. in the old days if you were working for the times a washington post another big operation lasting you would want to do is share it with anybody. in fact some very good investigations are was involved in wouldn't pass muster at the paper unless you were trying to go along with it. unless they had verifiable information on their own. in a world of cooperation and partnership where we are now, that is the real hurdle unless it is disappearing. what is the state of partnering in this more flexible age? >> it is being driven by the
financials we discussed and maybe because of the opportunities that the web provides but there are still some healthy competition out there. i don't think that has gone away. do you think we lost anything with partnership? >> no. we have great work in the poster partnership but i worry about everything. a reporter is going to be wearing a t-shirt that says this reporter sponsored by -- the partnership works for us. there has been extraordinary work coming from outside. when it comes in the post is going to publish it, the post editor gets involved, the post standard, we don't just take it and publish it. you won't get -- and it worked out really well. i haven't seen something like it yet.
>> there is no doubt journalism economy, everyone is scrambling to, very project driven. .. but it does liz turned journalist, even those who work with an institution, it's made them much more entrepreneurial. thinking all the time, how am i going to get is paid for? how can i build the support that
they need? where's my coalition, my support system? personally i just feel incredibly lucky that i have a job where they just leave me alone. i teach. i love my teaching my students, but part of my job is also to write. and so i feel really fortunate. but i don't do much of that. but most people, many people are not in that position. >> i've gotten some impression from you about the state of foreign correspondents which has changed dramatically in so many ways. when i was in the business years ago they were major bureaus all over the world, and hardly a name anymore. there's multiple platforms which is required by almost all of you, got to be able to do the
radio, the online, print and so when. what happened to the trade? is it going in some particular direction? >> it's a problem. it comes down to finding -- i'm a freelance writer. take my book as an example, the reason why i was able to write the book, what the book is about was my experience, build on my experience in my reporting that it did as an ap correspondent. i had already been living there too and have years as the chief when they quake struck. on that i've been on the other side of the border. five years in all, and i was able to do that because ap decided to find the beer and tv they're basically trying to get stories, investigative what a good, covering breaking is where good to be there in case
something happened to guess what? it did. it wasn't a particularly pleasant afternoon but it was extremely fortunate for me once i survived and i think ultimate for our readers that i was there and thus able to see this news, see this story unfold as it was happening, get it out very quickly and be there over a long-term and continue following the reconstruction. these are all things that happened because we were willing to put someone there. when they moved to the caribbean, ap had somebody on i want to say like half a dozen islands in the caribbean. there was a full bureau in puerto rico with very full staff. from the time i left we're down to something like three over people for the entire caribbean. i think it's gone down. this is a huge problem.
because, i have great respect for journalists and i tried to do this myself when i was called upon to going to places they don't know anything about, try to forget what's going on weekly and report it out. you are bound to make mistakes and bound to a limited understanding. it's important to people who speak the language, know the place, who are there for all the ins and outs. it does seem to be going by the wayside, and that's one thing that no matter what technology offers us, i don't think and be replaced. because it's not even the sort of thing you can just grab source and go on twitter and type in ukraine to try to kabul together some tweets of one of the province. you will need to pay someone to be there over the long term so they can do that kind of reporting. >> you mentioned you can fault in the first place which is you were there. i be interested as to how you
got involved in the project that we are talking about now. how much of it was your own initiative? and if so, what were the hurdles you have to get over? how much was given to to do? sheri come you had an extraordinary complex situation. the hospital in the throes of hurricane, what that produces in terms of major innovation and so forth. and the second story tied to that was ethical problems when medicine has to make life or death decisions. how did you get involved in the first place? >> well, i think pretty soon after hurricane katrina, these stories at the news that allegedly something very unusual had happened. that's the one hospital, and some the people in the hospital disagreed with what they perceived as euthanasia hastening the death of patients,
and it's really critical situation gets i think i heard about it like most of us on the news. because of my background in medicine i was actually in new orleans volunteer with the public health group, so there was that ended my first book was about the hospital in boston and is coming off of that. so all those things together, hearing that this might have happened in an american hospital and i worked in all these war zones overseas and had never heard exactly this story outside of the rump of movies. said that like i wanted to know more about it and also that the might be some urgent lessons. the basic lesson was what really happened, and then what do we need to take from that. >> newsday is the long island newspaper. >> yeah. i convinced them that it was online. [laughter] i did.
yeah, so the way that happened is that, newsday deserves a lot of credit. this is a disturbing thing, that a lot of these books in one way or another came out of institutional support. in my case i had written about environmental issues for a long time, and the people on long island were very interested in breast cancer patterns among long island. it disturbed him greatly. they wanted to know what those patterns meant and what the causes might be. and they gave me the time to try to explain it, understand it myself, and explained. and i felt like i didn't explain well enough in the context of a newspaper story. and i heard about this place in new jersey, really interesting work that was being done. newsday let me go down there a couple of times.
once i didn't actually tell them. i just went. but once they knew about it, and i resolved that if i ever got the chance to do deeper work that would be deeper than work i was able to do for newsday, that this would be an amazing way to get at this bigger story because it was such an extraordinary cast of characters. so it was a combination of the start of individual entrepreneurial digging that we are talking about now of sort of the new journalism model, but it also arose out of the old institutional model that we are largely missing and is a problem spent one thing about this book, what i find fascinating is that it is historical and it is future oriented as well as describing a current problem. the chemicals that created the
problem way back in history, and they are not going forward because a lot of factories that were in new jersey are now in china. and guess what? the same problems are arising again. david, how did you get involved? you have two books with the same battalion. >> yeah. so one difference is i have one not in journalism, it's not journalism where something happened and then i go and do interviews and try to write the story of what happened. i wish i could do that but that's not the move i have. the one i have is a moment arrives which i think is interesting and i want to be there and spend time to watch the story unfold. so in 2007 when i did my first book, the moment that arrived
was commit seem to be a lost moment of the iraq war, perhaps a tragic moment. and that's when president bush announced this new thing, the surge. and into the surge went and army infantry battalion, 800 soldiers, most deploying for the first time heading overseas, 19, 20 year old guys. i wanted to use the war to write something that felt bigger about what happens to the young man who goes into a war at such a moment. and so they went and off i went with him to see what happens. spent about a year on the ground within an iraq. >> you were on such a deployment, could you come and go or what you there the entire
time? >> i could come and go. i could go but i felt myself getting a little too -- i would take a little break and go back but mostly i was there. and, you know, a story happens, and the story was this incredible the young man, they all went to war, but by the time they went home come by the time they lost 14 of their guys, 10% were injured, got purple hearts, on and on and on the a tough area of baghdad. they were transform. they were changed. they came home. you all may listen to stuff, that's what happens in war. i did know what would happen. i just hung out. that was it. but then after the war came out i started from some of these guys saying that they weren't doing so well. that they weren't sleeping, that
the dreams come you know, they would use the word anxiety, depression, a couple of suicide attempts, and look, it came clear to me that i don't have to the story. if i'm such a crackerjack journalist, why not tell the other half? so again, the same process. that's what the new book is. i was embedded a couple of years with the couple of these soldiers and other families trying to recover from what they saw, what they did, what they didn't do. and then the chronicle i guess of recovery. so that's where it came from. and again it's different from these because the moment that arrived, and hadn't happened yet, and my suspicion was if you go, if you stay, eventually a story will occur. >> it's interesting to me that all of the ideas i think, unless i'm wrong, evil didn't start at
the beginning and say, this is the book. i've got to find a book. it doesn't work that way. instead, it's about thinking about what you think is important and what is interesting. and immersing yourself in the. and that's where the institutional support becomes necessary. >> you talked about book publishers. we're in a library. really, but the fact that we could find publishers who would supporters, who would put up, put us out an out of. that's huge part of what we're talking about. >> is there a lot of those or a small group? >> its consolidation. i don't know whether more books are being published but your but i do know there are fewer individually -- >> no, i asked the question from a somewhat biased background. i can tell there's a handful of
publishers who give you the books that you need for something like this. i don't want this sound an alarm bell. it's not as though we're if i printed it was never that case. five or six major publishers. >> consolidating all the time it. which by the way makes the economics for authors more difficult in a sense discourages another source. >> and the publishers are consolidating because they are under the financial pressures spent but it's encouraging, they've got 100 books, right? that you've got to pick your way through. pretty good number. >> very good books, a lot of
good books out there still. but some of which would have been multiple series newspapers in the past, and are now, they start as a book. thank goodness they are there. >> the prizes, the awards like bernstein, the bernstein found, it's more meaningful than ever now in the sort of economy, it's wonderful you guys have done this. the are other people doing it and it's exceedingly important because the institutional support, the traditional support has gone away spent and you got a prize while you were working -- >> yeah. so i was lucky enough in 2012 --
[inaudible] i remember actually the night of the awards ceremony when i got this quite large check, $30,000. and i was sitting, we're talking a sort of the economics of producing a book, what my outlook was going to be over the next couple of months or your while i was producing this thing. she asked me what i would've done if i hadn't gotten the award. i actually have no idea. i would've come up with another plan to thank god i don't have to. there certainly would be book -- would have been a book but it gave me the freedom and the time to make it good and really have
a detailed. >> i thought you would be even thinner than he is now. [laughter] spent listening, the money is important but i think what is most important, this is difficult, very solitary work that you do to turn out these books. and to have some sort of recognition that is much more public i think is a spur for the future. i hope to see more books like these. we are running out of time but before we do, anything that any of you would like to touch on that we haven't brought up? >> have i -- >> tried to get rid of -- [laughter] >> i think it's going to be interesting to see what happens. because regardless of what we on the panel decide, are you personally feel comfortable with --
[laughter] these changes are happening and it's going to be interesting. one of the hopeful things if we can find ways to make it work, as long as there are some people who are more passion than others to see it through and in native dutch and innovative enough to see it go through, you have brand-new voices and people who, what i think of think about as we're talking about we have the videos embedded is that instead of having just the one voice of god, not thinking of anyone in particular, in general who's been able to fight through the weeds and get the institutional support and get the book on track, yada, yada, but opened up to people who don't get represented, the don't get an opportunity. there may be more and more
opportunities. >> if we can figure out a way to democratize storytelling but also keeping the best of traditional narrative long form which is just a sort of really focus on thinking about the reader and the readers needs all the time, staying interesting, writing scared which is what you were saying. they could leave anytime. they could leave on this sense are they could leave you on that sentence. so you better hold them all the way through. if we can somehow marry these new tools with the old craftsmanship, we are going to have really powerful, amazing injuries in the bernstein award for the next 50 years -- amazing entries. i like the idea the web as a platform for lots of people involved in an event could win. however, i'm really also, i hate
it because, you know, this is an investment, but you can go on the web and you can find lots of really inaccurate information about what happened at the hospital published by people who might have a real interest or a bias. and what is the quality control and how does that change history? when students are researching something and then they find something on the web. this has footnotes. you can check things. this took six years. is that a fact checker versus come it doesn't really -- [inaudible] >> yes. >> go ahead. >> it's how do we avoid history just having a really markedly an accurate view of events when you of all these forces that can throw things out there?
and if we don't teach them we need to educate students about how to sift through and really take the things we. so i'm worried about that. >> there's an authority the aspect, you know? people say i can count on this is somehow. it remains to be seen whether we can translate that sense of you can count on true digital form spent i think this is a very important point and one made we can end on, which is there something called the record, and if the record only is in accurate statements and flimsy running and so on -- in accurate statements, there's nothing to go back to times when people ready to look so much growth in but because they often you write the right thing, but the audience isn't ready yet. but that doesn't mean it's gone for good but it doesn't mean
history has stopped. and so i think having books that have the quality of authority that these books have is a very important thing, particularly in a flexible age like ours were other record-keeping mechanisms are not as prevalent as they once were. i also want in on this node. we've been talking about reporting of the difficulties of financing and so on -- [laughter] [applause] >> hey. [inaudible] >> i have two resolutions. one is don't buy books from amazon and the second is don't
accept rides from anybody. [laughter] spent we appreciate all the efforts you made to get a. >> you can sign some books. >> you can sign some books. but also i wanted to end on this note but i'm going to end on your note. at first i wanted to say we talked about reporting, talk about financing, talked about new mechanisms and so one. one very old one which is highly prevalent in all these books is the quality of the writing and how important that is to the reader. not only getting it in their heads but keeping it there and wanted to act on it and think about it. and i must tell you that you take subjects as big and as complex as the ones these authors have dealt with and come out with such beautiful probes is a very difficult thing to do. and it's one of the reasons something like the bernstein award is very important. fred, what would you like to say? [lte